Teaching & Learning


UCL Teaching & Learning Conference 2013 poster abstracts

Targeting Assessment for Employability – Year 1

Amanda Cain, Structural and Molecular Biology

Abstract: In this academic year, we have introduced a new kind of summative assessment in first year with the aim of improving both the writing and critical analysis skills of our students. Historically BIOC1001/1008/1009 has provided full paper copies of the slides for each lecture, but we have observed a tendency for students to sit passively during lectures rather than taking notes. We have, therefore, developed a means of encouraging them to be more active during the lecture by taking their own notes which can then be supplemented using the lecture slides available on-line and reviewed in conjunction with the lecturecast recording if necessary.

We have set a summative assessment on note-taking and peer review. Students upload their own notes for a lecture we nominate. They are then asked to peer review the work of four others by assessing each student’s submission against a set of criteria that we have provided. Students are required to self assess their work against the same criteria. A member of staff double checks the submissions to ensure consistency in the marks given, approves the final mark and provides feedback where this differs from the average peer mark.

We believe that this novel form of assessment helps first year students develop the ability to take clear and concise notes, to carry out critical analysis against set marking criteria and to self-assess their own performance.  An added benefit is an enhanced student understanding of what constitutes feedback and how to constructively provide this to their peers.

The Success of an Intervention to Improve the Preparedness for Practice at UCL Medical School

Sarah Bennett, Academic Centre for Medical Education, UCL Medical School

Abstract: Over the last 10 years there have been a considerable number of studies suggesting that medical graduates do not feel prepared for practice as doctors after leaving Medical School.

Since the publication of the General Medical Council’s Tomorrow’s Doctors in 2003 and 2009, the majority of Medical Schools in the UK have overhauled their curricula, with much emphasis on interventions to improve preparation for practice. The GMC recommended the inclusion of an assistantship in the final year – a minimum of 4 weeks for students to assist the FY1 doctor on a day-to-day basis, to gain an insight into what’s expected of them once they start work. UCL Medical School have included this in the final year hospital placements, emphasising its importance to the students.

We surveyed UCL medical students 4 months into their final year using an online questionnaire. Half the year had already participated in the assistantship (group A) and half had not (Group B). We asked questions regarding current overall preparedness as well as specifics relating to preparation for prescribing, assessing and treating patients and making diagnoses.

The results showed that a significant percentage of students who had not experienced the assistantship felt they were not prepared for practice (42.2%) compared with 0% of those who had experienced the assistantship (p<0.001)

Those who had undertaken the assistantship reported subjectively higher rates of feeling prepared than those who had not.

Self-Reflection and Feedback in Clinical Education

Stefanie Bucher, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences

Abstract: The Speech and Language Sciences team teach and foster the development of self reflection skills and giving and receiving feedback that are critical to employability and performance in the workplace. These essential clinical skills apply not only to developing professionals through experiential learning (e.g. reflecting on practice and performance in clinical settings) but in empowering students to take leadership of their learning and development. Students are required to present case studies to their tutors and peers and critique their performance and that of their peers, implementing critical thinking as well as problem solving creatively through ‘live cases’. Students become experts at identifying their strengths and areas for development and are able to discuss these with confidence and clarity. Students are able to offer up objectives on how to improve performance complete with an action plan to success. Tutors make links to models of learning (The ‘Navigation’ model by Parker and Kersner,1998. Deep versus surface learning by Martin and Saljo 1984, Spiral Curriculum by Bruner, 1996, Schon’s theory of reflective practice ,1983) to give students a foundation to their practice and a clear rationale.The team aim to develop professionals who are leaders in their field in their ability to identify strengths in systems and teams but also to be confident and positive in identifying the need for change. SLTs are professionally accountable to frameworks and guidelines (NHS KSF, RCSLT SOPs) which govern their profession. The processes of tutorials implement these to equip new graduates with skills required in newly qualified therapists.

Insight Into Industry: Benefits of Undergraduate Placements

Charmian Dawson, Structural and Molecular Biology

Abstract: Biosciences students graduate into a fiercely competitive environment, whether they are going straight into employment, or postgraduate study. Having relevant, challenging work experience gives students a strong competitive edge.

In Molecular Biosciences, students have the option of taking a year out from their studies to take part in year-long Industrial Placements, and are supported throughout the application process, offering students a chance to implement their degree-specific knowledge, and strengthen important transferable skills.

Embarking on this path gives students several unique benefits in comparison to their peers. Experience of the applications process introduces students to the concept of aligning their descriptions of their skills and experiences in a manner that is relevant to the job description and employer, as well as highlighting the importance of extracurricular activities in enhancing their employability. After interviews, students are encouraged to reflect on, and improve upon their interview performance.

Industrial placements provide complete immersion in challenging professional environments, allowing interns the opportunity to evaluate career paths, and appreciate the relevance of their degree to future employment.

Students returning for their final year show much improved confidence and a greater sense of purpose and perspective. Upon graduating, they have a significant advantage over their competitors in obtaining employment, or access to postgraduate study, as well as an enhanced knowledge of the world of work, and of their own abilities.

By supporting students in this endeavour, students gain access to a range of experiences that can substantially improve their employability.

UCL Open Badges Event

Janina Dewitz, E-learning Environments

Abstract: "Learning today happens everywhere" - openbadges.org

Informal learning opportunities have vastly expanded in recent years due to social media becoming mainstream. Be it online through MOOCs or video tutorials or offline via Hackspaces or Meetup groups, learning today happens everywhere. But here is the problem: how can we document these learning experiences? And, furthermore, how can we verify our achievements?

A number of organisations and institutions are beginning to explore the possibility of using badge systems, such as Mozilla Open Badges, as a means of documenting achievements. These are virtual badges that may be awarded and attached to learner’s public profiles.

An interactive infographic poster on Mozilla Open Badges will cover:
- what are badges?
- what can badges be used for?
- what do I need to create and award badges to learners?

The poster will also provide some highlights and feedback from the UCL Open Badges event (20th March).

Skills 4 Work  - UCLU and UCL Careers Service Developing Student Skills and Employability

Ross Kelway, UCLU and UCL Careers Service

Abstract: In this presentation we will look at how the Skills4Work project has been successful in engaging UCL students in personal skills development through a collaborative relationship combining the contacts and knowledge of the UCL Careers Service, with the vibrancy and student led mission of UCL Union.

We will discuss how we have used student feedback, opinion and demand to inform what we offer through the project and how we have promoted our offer through traditional and social media.
We offer a strong programme of sessions from industry employers, specialists and recruiters, as well as tailored  workshops from professional skills trainers, but, do UCL  students feel that they are prepared for the working world? Where are we performing well and what can we do to improve student’s confidence in their skills and where will this take Skills4Work in the future?

This will be followed by a Q & A with two students involved with the project. Please see the Skills4work poster displayed for further information on the project.

Peer-led Formative Assessment of MSc Library Projects

Adam Liston, UCL Institute of Neurology

Abstract: Not available

Remote Supervision: A New Approach to Placement Learning

Carol Sacchett, UCL Speech and Language Therapy

Abstract: Practice placements are highly relevant to developing employability for health and social care students.  The innovative “remote supervision” model described here is particularly relevant in the current resource-limited climate.  The placement setting, adult mental health, offers potential for future interprofessional  learning opportunities, which also increase employability.  A large proportion of people with mental health problems have communication and/or swallowing difficulties.  Nevertheless the number of speech and language therapists (SLTs) working in mental health settings remains low, leading to reduced opportunities for students to gain relevant experience with consequences for recruitment.  To address this, sixteen third year SLT students were offered paired 4-week block placements in eight different settings for older people with mental health problems. Induction and weekly clinical supervision sessions were provided by the co-ordinating SLT, a specialist in adult mental health. For the rest of the week, students worked alongside other members of the MDT, supported by regular email and telephone contact with the SLT. Students completed pre- and post-placement questionnaires targeting knowledge, confidence and attitudes. Reported confidence and knowledge increased over the placement in 75% of areas. Attitudes became more positive in 81% of areas. Most students reported a stronger conviction about the role of SLT in mental health and increased confidence in applying for posts in this specialism. The evaluation supports evidence that students, HEIs, health and social care providers and service users can benefit from placements in new settings without intensive supervision.

E-Portfolios for Employability

Domi Sinclair, e-learning environments

Abstract: A key part of getting students to engage with employability and key skills is to encourage them to collect and reflect on examples of work and experiences.  MyPortfolio, the e-portfolio system used at UCL, is a great way to enable students to create, collect, organise and publish a variety of information including examples of work, journal entries and an online CV.

This presentation demonstrates how the MyPortfolio tools work and suggests some ways it might best be used. It will also explore e-portfolios for assessment, and look at the integration with Moodle.  Students and tutors may already be using external tools for things such as video, image or audio hosting, blogging or social networking. This presentation will look at how these external elements can be pulled into an e-portfolio, creating a central point of reference supplemented with other elements of the e-portfolio.

Giving students a central resource to collect and reflect can offer them focus point for key skills. With the addition that it can be used for assessment or exported and taken with the student when they leave, MyPortfolio is a good way to encourage students to connect with employability.

Andrea Townsend-Nicholson

Assessment of many modules, including those at the third year, M- and G- level, routinely involves a final examination, often worth 70-80% of the final mark. Yet this particular type of assessment affords no opportunity for specific feedback to the student, which makes it less than desirable as a means of embedding employability in the curriculum. We have experimented with embedding employability formally in the curriculum by removing the final examination from two third year modules (BIOC3007 and BIOC3008) and replacing it with assessments specifically designed to develop expertise in the analytical, writing and presentation skills required by employers.